September 29, 2023 at 1:20 p.m.
Lindstrom green-lights fire hall occupancy
Lindstrom City Council September 21 handled imposing a fine for a liquor sales violation, passed a 2024 preliminary levy and heard a presentation from Superintendent Brian Dietz on the upcoming schools referendum. But these all took a backseat to the long anticipated announcement that firefighters can finally move into the new fire station.
Those that served on the project’s building committee attended the council session. Chief Scott Sellman told council, the guys are all very excited to get into the new facility and “...we might even start (moving) tonight.”
The fire hall is still slated for analysis of cement work, but this will require weeks and it was decided the fire operations can work around testing activity.
A proposal from Braun Intertec was authorized to proceed verifying the work done on cement subgrade and a petrographic analysis, for $7,873.
City staff and engineers, along with city council members, have opted to pursue this course of action in the wake of concerns about quality of the work. Imperfections noticed already could be “cosmetic’ or may be structural.
The fire hall contractor Rochon, is working with the city to pursue this analysis and if necessary, will work with subcontractors involved.
City Administrator Dan Undem said any corrective work identified (in the Braun analysis) would be addressed in the 2024 construction season.
The move-in is made possible due to the completion of improvements to the street accessing the fire hall Akerson Avenue. The final payout was approved to adjust the crown of the street addressing stormwater drainage and drainage controls including sealing the manhole rings that were allowing infiltration. The Akerson project cost was $55,251.
Firefighters said they are aiming to be able to hold Fire Prevention Week Open House at the new station, in October. Watch for details.
The relocating of the fire department advances the opportunity of doing something with the old facility space on main street. Council heard the city Economic Development Authority is looking to put out a request for proposals as soon as practical.
The Chisago Lakes Golf Course bar and restaurant failed a recent liquor compliance check and council imposed a $2,000 fine. The ordinance also gives discretion to shutdown a business for a specified number of days.
Nobody from the business attended the meeting.
This is the second underage sales infraction at this business in a few years. Sgt. Larson, at the meeting for the chief of police, also explained server staff have taken alcohol license training offered through Lakes Area Police. Mayor Judy Chartrand commented that she is a Rotary member and they card everybody who looks anything close to 21 at events where Rotary is serving alcohol, it should just be automatic, she added.
As for the 2024 preliminary property tax levy, council voted 5-0 to put it at an almost nine percent increase for now, or $3,344,495 maximum. This can be whittled down or line items can be moved around but the final amount may not increase.
In previous budget workshops Press stories on discussions have reported the status of Lindstrom’s fund balance is an expressed concern. City policy and accepted practice is to have balances at 40 to 50 percent of annual expenses. This is to provide a cushion for unplanned needs, and is because property tax distribution to local government units is intermittent.
The city also is including a contingency line for $25,000 and dedicating an increase of $140,000 to street projects.
Lindstrom holds a truth in taxation hearing for public input and then adopts a final levy in December. The hearing is December 21 at 6:30 p.m.
A parcel on South Center Lake, off Glader Boulevard, was allowed to annex in from Chisago Lake Township. The owner said it is for sewer service hook-up.
Council member Brian Norelius inquired about changing the Thursday meeting night saying he is missing his kids’ sports events. Staff will evaluate the city hall calendar and outside users and see if another night works.